Cheney Free Press -

By Luella Dow

Stagecoach etiquette equally applicable today



Some gentlemen trek across the country on a stagecoach in the late 1800’s.

Although this bit of advice for gentlemen riding on a stagecoach was given in the late 1800s, we might find it valuable in 2013. Since we who live in this era can’t even spell etiquette let alone adhere to it, just sit back and absorb it as you begin your summer vacations across country.

“The best seat inside a stagecoach is the one next to the driver. You will have to ride with your back to the horses, which with some people produces an illness like sea sickness, but in a long journey this will wear off.” My comment: This is a help to the driver, who won’t have to listen to you nagging “Watch out for that rabbit. Don’t go so fast around the curve.”

“When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do it without grumbling. If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances. If you jump, nine times out of 10 you will be hurt.” My comment: If the atmosphere inside your car has gotten to that stage, you’re not going anywhere anyway.

“Don’t growl at food stations.” My comment: If everybody else wants cheeseburgers, let them. You can slouch by yourself with a bowl of oatmeal.

“Don’t keep the stage waiting.” My comment: This one is too close to home. A member of my family was left behind because of a five-minute delay. After 20 years I still feel sorry for him and ashamed for the impatient driver.

“Don’t smoke a strong pipe inside, especially early in the morning. Spit on the leeward side of the coach.” My comment: I haven’t the slightest idea where the leeward side of a car is so you’d better not spit at all.

“Don’t swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping.” My comment: With the four- and five-year-old passengers yelling “are we there yet,” your chance to sleep is zero. Don’t worry about it.

“Don’t grease your hair before starting or dust will stick there in sufficient quantities to make a respectable ‘tater’ patch.” My comment: I’ve never seen a potato patch on a person’s head, respectable or not. Please send your information so that I may be enlightened.

“Tie a silk handkerchief around your neck to keep out dust and prevent sunburns.” My comment: Sorry folks, guess those who wrote these instructions weren’t thinking about the cowboy types among us. We could show those sissies a thing or two.

Last admonition: “Don’t imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic, expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardships. If you are disappointed it didn’t turn out that way, thank heaven!” My comment: How good it is to be home again.

Bye folks.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at

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